Author: Mette Ivie Harrison
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Goodreads rating: 3.33 out of 5.00 (45+ ratings pre-release)
Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon
Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she's impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father's court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power--or the magic--to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?
Review by Chantelle
Mmmmmm, how to write a review for The Rose Throne... it was a bit of a 'nothing' book, in that it wasn't terrible, wasn't great, wasn't particularly affecting, just overall not very memorable, average at best.
The Rose Throne is a fantasy romance set on an island that has been both physically and magically divided into two; two lands with two kings, and two components of "weyr" where the boys grow into their "taweyr" and girls their "neweyr". Taweyr is a magic that gives high affinity for hunting and killing, and neweyr is a magic that gives high affinity for nature and birth. There are also "ekhono"s who are boys with inherit neweyr and girls who inherit taweyr, and who are considered dangerous oddities deserving of banishment or death. This is quite a fascinating plot in theory, however I felt that the novel lacked sufficient world building to truly allow the reader to immerse themselves in this new world. At many instances, I wanted Harrison to expand on the history of the islands, I felt as if descriptions were skimmed or neglected which made it hard to invest in characters whose fates relied heavily on the laws of this fantasy land. The world building is often the most exciting aspect of fantasy novels, and are obviously necessary since they're imaginary, and since I felt this was missing, it was a big factor into this book not being memorable for me.
The main characters are Princess Ailsbet and Princess Marissa, both from different islands and hence different kingdoms. Ailsbet is a headstrong, lover of music and Marissa is more docile, however both girls face being married off for purely political reasons. They're pitted as rivals, with the situation of each girl unintentionally posing a disadvantage to the other. Again, the idea is interesting, however I felt as if their characters weren't explored in as much depth as I'd have liked, making the characters seem quite one dimensional. On the plus side, the two princesses provided the main points of interest in this novel. It was refreshing how their personalities were contrasting and yet, the transitions of their POVs flowed really smoothly and complemented one other. The romantic interests of both girls heavily drove the storyline, such that I felt maybe contemporary romances would be a better avenue for Harrison rather than medieval romances.
The redeeming factor for me is the second half of the novel which picked up considerably. The pace quickened, the plot got a lot more interesting and exciting, and the characters started showing qualities that make them worth rooting for. If you read this book, please persist until the end because it does improve, in fact I really enjoyed the last quarter, and didn't expect the ending at all!